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Ants are not welcome everywhere. Therefore, you can find out here what measures you can use to gently relocate an anthill.

In a nutshell

  • if ants are relocated using scents, the new location of the nest can hardly be influenced
  • With the flower pot trick, an anthill can be moved to a new location
  • in the case of the garden ants that are typical in the domestic environment, the new habitat can be in the same garden

“Relocate” through fragrances

Again and again reference is made to the use of fragrances when you want to resettle an anthill. Even when using fragrances that are harmless to nature conservation, there is a catch:
Fragrances that ants do not like are generally used. These are for example:

Source: Katja Schulz from Washington, D.C., USA, Black Garden Ant tending Citrus Mealybug (15876781048), Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY 2.0
  • vinegar
  • lemon
  • tea tree oil
  • cinnamon or cinnamon oil
  • Herbs with a high proportion of essential oils, such as marjoram, thyme, etc.

If these substances are used, the ants leave their nest and look for a new place to stay. Exactly where that will be is not in your hands. In the worst case, the new nest will appear in a place where it is just as undesirable, so that you have ultimately gained nothing.

Tip: Therefore, only use the scent method if you explicitly want to keep the animals away from a specific location. Herb pots, for example, can form an effective barrier in front of windows or patio doors.

The flowerpot method

If, on the other hand, you want to move an anthill from one place to another, you can use another variant - the flower pot trick. For him, do the following:


  • 1 medium-sized flower pot made of clay, at least unglazed on the inside
  • wood shavings, fine straw or newspaper
  • bucket of water
  • Sugar, jam, honey or similar attractant
  • Spade, wooden board or similar

Step 1 - The preparation

To get started with the resettlement of the ants, first prepare the "trap" in which you will pick up the anthill for transport to the new place of residence:

  • Immerse the flower pot completely in water for about an hour and let it soak
  • Remove the pan from the water and drain well
  • Coat the bottom of the pot thickly with the chosen attractant
  • Stuff the container tightly with straw, wood shavings, or crumpled newspaper

Tip: Be sure to choose a flowerpot without a hole at the bottom, or seal it. Otherwise, in addition to the ant colony itself, you will attract other insects from outside the nest.

Step 2 - Set up the "trap".

Once you have your "trap" ready, place it directly over the anthill, with the open top of the pot facing down. Make sure to cover as much of the visible area as possible with entrances, so that all swarming animals really find their way directly into the transitional housing.

Step 3 - The move

This relocation step is particularly simple. Now all you have to do is wait until the ants have accepted their new temporary home. The animals themselves like it very much in their nest. However, the stronger the attractive factors are present, the easier it is for them to accept a new place to live. In your transitional nest these are:

  • High humidity
  • High heat through insulating nesting material
  • Optimum feed supply through sugar baits

The waiting time until the colony has completely moved into the flower pot should be a few days to a week at most. Then the animals have also resettled their brood, so that the survival of the colony is secured.

Step 4 - Pick Up and Transport

Now it is time to transport the moved anthill to its new permanent location:

Source: Volker Borovsky, Solenopsis fugax male alates swarming at nest entrance 3, Edited by Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Push a spade or thin wooden board between the soil and the flower pot
  • For longer transport routes: put both together in a tight bucket or small barrel with a lid
  • Carry out transport as uniformly as possible and without violent vibrations

Step 5 - Moving into the new home

Place the flower pot at the intended new location for the ant colony and pull the spade away from under the opening. Pulling them out of the flower pot works particularly well if you loosen up the soil underneath and distribute some sugar or jam as a welcome gift.

frequently asked Questions

What does nature conservation say about the resettlement of anthills?

Normal road ants can be resettled without any problems. It is important that the entire colony and not just a few workers are moved. Otherwise, the nest will be left behind or even destroyed. Wood ants, on the other hand, should only be found in wooded areas. If they ever have to be relocated, you should contact the responsible district forester.

Is it bad if some animals die while moving?

No. An ant colony has countless individuals, of which animals are constantly dying and growing. Just make sure to move the brood with as little damage as possible.

What to do if the ants no longer move out of the flower pot?

Make the soil underneath even more attractive by providing loose, moist soil and enough food. After a while, the conditions in the flower pot become unattractive and the animals look for a new place to stay on their own.

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